Cam Talbot returns to the lineup with desperation circling the Oilers. They need wins. A lot of them.
And they will need more saves from Talbot.
His .903sv% in 22 starts this season is well below his career average of .920 and with the Oilers’ offence awakening recently — 26 goals in past seven games — he doesn’t need to steal games, he just needs to be consistent.
Of the 27 goalies with 18+ starts, only Craig Anderson (.897) and Scott Darling (.899) have a lower sv% than Talbot. He is better than .903sv% and he needs to play up to his ability starting tomorrow in Minnesota.
Prior to his injury, Talbot was starting to play to his expected level. In his final three starts, he stopped 72 of 78 shots (.923sv%) and only allowed two goals in each game versus Detroit, Boston and Arizona.
The Oilers have the lowest team sv% in the Western Conference, and Talbot has the lowest sv% of any starter in the west.
Corey Crawford (Chic): .934 in 24 starts
Pekka Rinne (NSH): .927 in 24 starts
Jonathan Quick (LA): .926 in 25 starts
John Gibson (ANA): .922 in 25 starts
Antti Raanta (ARI): .919 in 15 starts
Mike Smith (CGY): .918 in 28 starts
Connor Hellebuyck WPG): .917 in 24 starts
Devan Dubnyk (MINN): .915 in 23 starts
Martin Jones (SJ): .915 in 21 starts
Jake Allen (ST.L): .911 in 27 starts
Jacob Markstrom (VAN): .911 in 21 starts
Ben Bishop (DAL): .909 in 23 starts
Semyon Varlamov (COL): .906 in 19 starts
Cam Talbot (EDM): .903 in 22 starts
***Vegas is an outlier due to using four goalies. Marc-Andre Fleury has .934 in six starts, Malcolm Subban has .924 in nine starts, Oscar Dansk .946 in three starts and Maxime Legace .872 in 14 starts. Their top three goalies, in 18 starts, have a .930sv%, so it is still higher.***
If Talbot plays up to his capabilities, he should steal the odd game for the Oilers. They will need him to win the odd game for them.
REST OF GROUP
The Oilers as a team are playing better as of late, but they are still battling inconsistency. They can’t kill off a penalty with any sort of regularity. In the last seven games, they’ve allowed seven PP goals on 22 kills (68.1%). It is painful how inept they are on the PK.
They are grossly ineffective at home. In their ten home losses, they have allowed 15 goals on 33 chances. The opposing powerplays are 45.4%. That is not a typo. This is a serious problem and the coaches need to address it. In the past 100 games, the Oilers PK is 76%. This is a problem and, while the coaches have tried new things, nothing is working. It is getting worse. Something has to give and I wonder how long before the Oilers consider looking at a different coach to oversee the penalty kill. Jim Johnson runs it, and something is getting lost in translation between him and the players.
I realize McLellan is involved as well, but it is Johnson’s baby and right now it is spitting up all over itself. There has been some improvement. As mentioned, in the past seven games it has gotten worse, not better.
The Oilers are scoring enough to win, averaging 3.71 goals per game, but it is feast or famine with them. They have scored seven, six and six, in three games, but they’ve been shut out twice, both times to back up goalies who stopped 41 and 46 shots. You can’t fault their effort, but the harsh reality is you can’t win if you don’t score.
And they will face another backup tomorrow afternoon in Minnesota. Devan Dubnyk is injured so Alex Stalock will start for the Wild. Stalock is 5-3 with a .916sv% and a 2.61 GAA. He has won the last three games for the Wild, starting two and coming off the bench to replace an injured Dubnyk in the other.
The Oilers have played much better of late, but despite good efforts in Toronto and last night to Nashville, they were shut out in both. They can’t afford to waste many more good efforts. We know they will have some games where they don’t play well, but sitting in 14th spot they don’t have the luxury of building off a solid performance that results in a loss. They need to find ways to at least get a point in those contests.
It is desperation time for the Oilers and they have to hope the return of their starting goaltender is the boost they need.
Adam Larsson will not play tomorrow. He skated again today, but he still hasn’t been cleared to play. Andrej Sekera is still on target to return around Christmas, but no word if that means before Christmas or after. If he doesn’t play Thursday versus St.Louis, I’d be surprised if he plays on the 23rd. Why would they play him then, rather than give him another four days off and play on the 27th in Winnipeg?
If everyone stays healthy, when Larsson and Sekera return I’d guess Eric Gryba and Nathan Walker will be the two sent down. Yohann Auvitu could be both the eighth defenceman and 14th forward.
MONTH OF GIVING
A massive thanks to Ken for his generous bid of $8000 and to A-1 Heating for the awesome Furnace/AC package.
Day #11: A custom made golf cart courtesy of Golf Cart People.
- You will get a custom designed golf cart built by Golf Cart People
- It is a two person golf cart
- Electric or gas
- One colour custom paint job (Courtesy of Herbers Auto Body)
- A custom seat
- Custom set of Mags
Thanks in advance. All proceeds will help out Santas Anonymous